The remaining 2024 GOP also-rans gathered for another embarrassing "Presidential Primary Debate" on Wednesday night in Miami, The front-runner rallied instead with thousands of supporters about 30 minutes north of the venue. For some reason, we cover all of it and more on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
So much for those "culture wars". Let's have some real ones! Just in case you fell for the GOP's Trump-fueled hoax that the party has somehow become anti-war or something, Wednesday night's forum, sponsored and very poorly moderated by NBC News and the far-right Salem Radio Network, dispelled that old myth pretty quickly. The five candidates still in the running other than Donald Trump, called for wars in pretty much every corner of the globe, from Israel to Iran to China to Mexico to our own southern border. (Though some pulled their punches when it came to actually defending democracy from imperialistic autocracy in Ukraine.)
For the record, the participants on Wednesday were FL Gov. Ron DeSantis, former SC Gov. and Trump's U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former NJ Gov. Chris Christie, SC U.S. Senator Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy, who the NYT's David French aptly characterized as "a right-wing Twitter thread come to life."
As right-wing Twitter threads do, Ramaswamy worked hard to dominate the night with all sorts of obnoxious stuff and nonsense, no matter how off-topic, resulting in him being described as "scum" by the deceptively not-insane Haley. Though it was difficult to dispute his declaration that Republicans have "become a party of losers" following Democrats' abortion rights-fueled victories across the country in Tuesday's off-year elections --- and similar wins in 2018, 2020 and 2022.
We're joined once again for our (perhaps futile) attempt to make sense of it all in today's Special Coverage by award-winning Salon columnist and Hullabaloo blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois".
We discuss not only the return of full-throated, chest-thumping GOP war-mongering, in a debate that was arguably as much about the Republican Party as anything else, but a whole bunch of other stuff, including the GOP's "culture war" now in tatters, and NBC's Fox "News"-like failure to spend much time, if any, on the biggest elephant not in the room. (You know, the one that is seriously threatening the very survival of our Constitutional republic and even survival on the planet itself if he is returned to the Presidency next year.)
"It was a tough night for pundits," quips Driftglass today. "You gotta feel sorry for the people whose job it is to spin this as bad news for Joe Biden." But, he also observes: "Donald Trump wasn't there, but he was there. He was the specter hanging over everything. The specter hanging over all of us." NBC, he notes, had a responsibility to "expose how much the Republican Party itself has become a reflection of Donald Trump and MAGA. And they didn't do it at all. They didn't bring up guns. They didn't bring up democracy, the election lies. They didn't bring up any of the things that are really animating our politics."
We also spend some time today on Tuesday's pretty remarkable Democratic election victories amid the ongoing panic by too many Dems freaking out this week following recent polling showing Trump defeating Biden a year from now in five of six critical battleground states.
While Parton dismissed the usual "panic artists" making hay of polling a full year out from the election, she concedes, "it's going to be close" next year. She then adds, ominously: "It really is keeping me up at night thinking about these tens of millions of my fellow Americans who still like this guy, Donald Trump. We've got a bigger problem, I think, culturally. Something really, really toxic is going on in our body politic. I don't think it's going to go away when he does."
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